Biden delivers State of the Union to a divided Congress


Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to supporters Feb. 3 in Des Moines after the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses. 

Stacia Drey, Politics Reporter

President Joe Biden addressed a Chinese spy balloon that was recently shot down over mainland U.S. territory at his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Biden said the U.S. is competitive with China and would like to work with them, but said he would do what it takes to keep the U.S. safe.

“If China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect it, and we did,” Biden said.

The House Chamber then ignited chanting, “ U.S.A.” with Biden saying that it has never been a good bet to bet against America.

Biden began the address by welcoming a new Speaker of the House and applauded the other positions that had been replaced in the 2022 elections. He shared a message of unity in a post-Covid world, and highlighted the progress and resilience that Americans have shown in the past few years.

Biden said the pandemic-caused national state of emergency will be ending soon, adding that U.S. citizens made it through the global pandemic together and united.

“Fighting for the sake of fighting,” Biden said. “Power for the sake of power. Conflict for the sake of conflict– it gets us nowhere.”

Biden said he showed his commitment to bipartisan issues such as lowering inflation consistently, prioritizing affordable high-speed internet, fighting fraud and identity theft and encouraging American-made products and small businesses. During his presidency so far,  Biden has signed over 300 bipartisan pieces of legislation.

“For too many decades we have imported products and exported jobs, and now, thanks to what we have done, we are exporting American products and creating American jobs,” Biden said.

Biden said the unemployment rate is at a 50 year low, adding that there have been over 800,000 new manufacturing jobs created.

Biden then shifted focus to his bipartisan Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) in Science Act. Biden said this begins with a new law to create hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the country using semiconductor factories that make the chips for automobiles. He added that the initiative is rooted in the encouragement of jobs that do not require a college degree.

“We are going to make sure the supply chain for America begins in America,” Biden said.

In regard to infrastructure, Biden said maintaining a strong economy requires having the best infrastructure, citing bipartisan legislation he signed that supported infrastructure through projects concerning airports, highways, bridges and high-speed internet access.

This prompted an announcement about new standards put in place for all construction materials used in federal infrastructure construction projects. Biden said the materials must now be made in America.

Biden said he has seen a deepening interest in lowering prescription drug prices for many citizens, saying that drug prices are higher in the States than in any other country in the world.

In response, the Biden Administration capped the cost of insulin at $35 per month for seniors on Medicaid.

“Let’s finish the job this time,” Biden said. “Let’s cap the cost of insulin for everybody.”

Biden spoke on climate harm reduction, having said he hopes to build 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the country and give tax credits to those with electric vehicles and efficient appliances.

“The climate crisis doesn’t care if you’re in a red or blue state, it’s an existential threat,” Biden said. “We have an obligation—not to ourselves, but to our children and grandchildren—to confront it.”

Biden said his administration has cut the budget deficit by more than $1.7 trillion, which he said would be the largest deficit decrease in American history.

Biden addressed middle-class Americans by talking about reducing junk fees from airlines, hotels, and other hidden service fees.

Biden addressed education, having said it requires more funding to make higher Pell grants and debt forgiveness possible.

He encouraged people to pass his proposal to up the tax rate on billionaires. He also proposed quadrupling the tax on corporate stock buybacks and encouraging long-term investments.

“Capitalism without competition is not capitalism, it is extortion,” Biden said.

He reaffirmed his belief in what Roe v. Wade stood for and said he will veto any abortion ban.

He focused on gun safety and enhanced background checks, red flag laws, and keeping guns out of the wrong hands. He prompted a large response from the crowd in proposing an assault weapon ban.

Sick and tired of preventing workers from unionizing, Biden said he is getting seniors the support and service they need. He wants to restore the dignity of work.

“Public safety depends on public trust,” Biden said. He advocated for giving law enforcement more training and more resources. He said that police must be held accountable and signed an executive order for all federal officers banning chokeholds.

Foreign policy was a large focus of the last part of Biden’s address.

“The world is watching,” he said, “will we stand for the defense of democracy?”

With the Ukrainian invasion being a little over a year ago, Biden highlighted how the U.S. led and united NATO and has stood against Putin’s aggression. After pointing out the Ukrainian ambassador in the crowd, Biden told the world, “We are going to stand with you as long as it takes.”

Immigration issues were talked about through the lens of the need for more resources and staff to secure America’s borders. This came after addressing the fentanyl and opioid crisis that has a distribution stemming from issues in border security.

Biden emphasized that democracy is fundamental. He talked about how the nation had been threatened and attacked on January 6 of 2021 and spoke of Paul Pelosi being attacked at his home. “No place for political violence in America,” Biden said.

“Because the soul of this nation is strong, because the backbone of this nation is strong, because the people of this nation are strong, the state of the union is strong,” Biden said, ending the State of the Union address.